Open Auditions for Arsenic and Old Lace
Monday January 11 and Tuesday January 12 at 7:00pm – Playhouse South located in the Clark Haines Theatre in the Barnes Board of Education building at 3750 Far Hill Ave. Possible callbacks on Wednesday January 13 at 7:00pm.
Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. Some characters speak with a New York or German accent, so please be prepared to speak with the appropriate accent, if asked. Headshots and resumes are encouraged. See below for synopsis and character breakdown.
Arsenic and Old Lace is a play by the American playwright Joseph Kesselring, written in 1939. It has become best known through the film adaptation starring Cary Grant.
The play is a farcical black comedy revolving around the Brewster family, descended from the “Mayflower,” but now composed of insane homicidal maniacs. The hero, Mortimer Brewster, is a drama critic who must deal with his crazy, homicidal family and local police in Brooklyn, NY, as he debates whether to go through with his recent promise to marry the woman he loves.
His family includes two spinster aunts who have taken to murdering lonely old men by poisoning them with a glass of home-made elderberry wine laced with arsenic, strychnine, and “just a pinch” of cyanide; a brother who believes he is Theodore Roosevelt and digs locks for the Panama Canal in the cellar of the Brewster home; and a murderous brother who has received plastic surgery performed by an alcoholic accomplice, Dr. Einstein to conceal his identity, and now looks like horror-film actor Boris Karloff.
Abby Brewster: A darling lady in her sixties or early seventies who poisons elderly men, Abby is the sister of Martha and
aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.
Martha Brewster: A sweet elderly woman with Victorian charm who poisons elderly men, Martha is the sister of Abby
and an aunt to Teddy, Jonathan, and Mortimer.
Elaine Harper: An attractive girl in her twenties and Mortimer’s fiancée, Elaine is the daughter of the Rev. Dr. Harper.
She is surprisingly wise in the ways of the world for a minister’s daughter.
Mortimer Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha, Mortimer is a drama critic who is engaged to Elaine. A good-hearted cynic
who is about to have his world turned upside down.
Teddy Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, Teddy is a man in his forties who thinks that he is Theodore
Officer O’Hara: A police officer, O’Hara is a would-be playwright who pesters Mortimer to read his play.
Jonathan Brewster: Nephew of Abby and Martha Brewster, Jonathan is a psychopath who has numerous murders to his credit and no scruples whatsoever. A bit oversensitive to his “new” appearance.
Dr. Einstein: A plastic surgeon and an alcoholic in his fifties, Dr. Einstein has changed Jonathan’s face three times,
with his most recent work resulting in a Boris Karloff resemblance.
The Rev. Dr. Harper: Minister and father of Elaine. A bit pompous and protective, very ministerial in his manner.
Officer Brophy: A flatfoot Brooklyn cop with the usual charm of a police officer.
Officer Klein: A Brooklyn cop.
Lieutenant Rooney: A tough and dominating police officer.
Mr. Gibbs: A man who wishes to rent a room from the Brewster sisters.
Mr. Witherspoon: The superintendent of Happy Dale
Performances are March 4th and 5th at 8pm, March 6th at 2pm, March 11th and 12th at 8pm, and March 13th at 2pm. Arsenic and Old Lace is directed by Jim Spencer, with assistant director Sara Bortz.